Jane (mahbaar) - Reviews

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101 Things to Do With a Slow Cooker
101 Things to Do With a Slow Cooker
Author: Stephanie Ashcraft, Janet Eyring
Book Type: Spiral-bound
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 23
Review Date: 8/26/2010
Helpful Score: 2


I tried three recipes from this book, and each one was going to require significant doctoring or was just simply bland. The recipes looked really good, but they just didn't do it for us.


The Alienist
The Alienist
Author: Caleb Carr
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 534
Review Date: 1/25/2011
Helpful Score: 1


Do not let the size of this book intimidate you. It's going to be one of the best historical mysteries you've read in a long time! The characters (with the appearance of several famous Americans), the historical New York City, and the science and detection methods all weave together in this fantastic story about the hunt for a serial killer. Dr. Kreizler is the closest to an American Sherlock Holmes as I've seen, and the narrator's storytelling reads much like Dr. Watson. Surprisingly suspenseful and tense as we turn the pages, it all comes to a finale that pays off. Definitely worth reading. 4.5 stars.


Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking
Review Date: 4/30/2009
Helpful Score: 24


So I bought this book after seeing a demonstration video online. Bought it and started baking bread. My DH has absolutely taken over, and now is a master bread-baker! The breads are very good, and we really enjoy them.

One catch, though. While it only takes 5 minutes to form your loaf with the dough from the fridge, it does need to rise for 40 minutes and then bake for up to 30. So it's not a matter of grab from the fridge and pop into the oven. It isn't really ideal for someone working full-time and coming home and making a quick meal.


Baby Signs
Baby Signs
Author: Linda Acredolo, Susan Goodwyn
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 72
Review Date: 8/6/2007
Helpful Score: 24


While the information about sharing signs with your child seems useful, I was very disappointed to see that this book does not use American Sign Language. Instead, it encourages parents to develop signs with their child. Personally, I think that it's important to use ASL, and given that many signs are fairly intuitive, I think that developing your own set of signs sort of defeats the purpose of teaching sign language to your children. How will my children communicate with people outside of the immediate family? With ASL, there is a possibility that they could, with self-developed signs there is no chance.


Beowulf: A Verse Translation
Beowulf: A Verse Translation
Author: Seamus Heaney (Translator), Daniel Donoghue (Editor)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 5/15/2007
Helpful Score: 18


I just finished reading this translation and was delighted. I can hardly believe the difference this excellent translation made! Reads just like any epic poem (though there are some footnotes still required!). I really enjoyed reading this.

Can't comment on the supplemental information because I did not read it. I just wanted to read the new translation.


The Best Bagels Are Made at Home (Nitty Gritty Cookbooks)
The Best Bagels Are Made at Home (Nitty Gritty Cookbooks)
Author: Dona Z. Meilach
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 6/28/2007
Helpful Score: 20


I made a few batches of bagels using the step-by-step process in this book, and my DH (who is from NY) said that the bagels were fantastic! (I thought they were darned good, too!) The process, however, is very time-consuming. Be prepared to spend a good chunk of time to get those hot, fresh bagels at home!


Best-Ever Breads
Best-Ever Breads
Author: Fleischmann's Yeast
Book Type: Unknown Binding
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 5/8/2008


This is a fantastic little book with many different bread recipes. It also has a handy step-by-step guide to making yeast breads in the introduction. It's a short book, but a great one for the beginning bread maker.


Big Food: Amazing Ways To Cook, Store, Freeze, And Serve Everything You Buy In Bulk
Review Date: 12/8/2010
Helpful Score: 1


I was disappointed with this book. Instead of providing general information on storing items purchased at the store, it gave recipes for using extra-large sizes of ingredients. I expected more suggestions on long-term storage, but it was mostly recipes. I'm sure this would be fine for some people, but it was not what I was looking for.


Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes
Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes
Author: Better Homes and Gardens
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 38
Review Date: 1/15/2008
Helpful Score: 1


I've tried a few recipes from this slow cooker book, and I just prefer my Fix-It-And-Forget-It much better. The recipes I've tried that look family friendly are VERY bland, and the ones that look like they're not bland are really not family friendly. I guess I'm at a "Betty Crocker" stage in my family's life, not BH&G!


Black and Blue
Black and Blue
Author: Anna Quindlen
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 665
Review Date: 4/29/2007
Helpful Score: 30


I read this book a while ago, and it's worth a read. Fran escapes from her abusive husband by using an underground network that helps abused women "disappear". She brings along her son, so that he will no longer be exposed to the violence her husband unleashes on her. She sets up a new life, but always in fear that her husband may find her. A heartbreaking account of what abuse does to a woman and her household. I'd give it more stars, except the ending really wasn't as good as the rest of the book. I didn't expect a "happily ever after" finish, and it had a bit of a twist, but it just seemed flat when compared to the rest of the novel.


Blood Sport
Blood Sport
Author: Dick Francis
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 36
Review Date: 8/21/2009


Dick Francis is in top form in this novel. The main character's struggle with depression complicates his investigation into some prime bloodstock horses that have been stolen and his attempts to recover them. The insurance investigator from the insurance company is at first adversarial but becomes a friend as the story continues. Worth a read!


A Body to Die For (Savannah Reid, Bk 14)
A Body to Die For (Savannah Reid, Bk 14)
Author: G. A. McKevett
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 3/27/2010


Another solid and enjoyable Savannah Reid mystery. I did figure out whodunnit this time, though. Maybe I've read enough of them to get some reliable hunches!


Bride's Thank You Guide: Thank You Writing Made Easy
Bride's Thank You Guide: Thank You Writing Made Easy
Author: Pamela A. Piljac
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 22
Review Date: 11/13/2007
Helpful Score: 2


This book was a lifesaver when I was writing all of those thank-you notes after my wedding. Many tips for writing an effective note, including what to say if you're not even sure what the gift is (and yes, I received a couple of those, LOL). I received comments on how nice my notes were. I still use a lot of the tips today! Very useful.


The Broke Diaries : The Completely True and Hilarious Misadventures of a Good Girl Gone Broke
Review Date: 5/17/2008


This book is sure to please quite a few people. But for me, the diary format and the way the tales were told just didn't quite float my boat. Decided not to finish it and passed it on.


Careless in Red (Inspector Lynley, Bk 15)
Careless in Red (Inspector Lynley, Bk 15)
Author: Elizabeth George
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 90
Review Date: 10/19/2009
Helpful Score: 2


Wow. What to say about this book. While the ending was satisfactory, getting there was excruciating. It took every ounce of willpower to get to the end, as I found pretty much every suspect in this novel completely insufferable. The only thing holding me was the interesting Bea Hannaford (the regional inspector heading the murder investigation), coupled with her perspective on the relationship between Lynley and Havers.

If you're only half-way devoted to this series, I doubt you'll find this to your liking. If you're a devoted fan, you will want to read it in preparation for the next novel. I won't be picking the next one up, however, if its reviews are tepid. This one overall was a disappointment to me.


The Children of Hurin
The Children of Hurin
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 87
Review Date: 6/8/2007
Helpful Score: 25


My husband was SO disappointed with this book. He was so disappointed that he actually had me post it here, and he's a total book hoarder! He said that it read like an outline and was completely lacking in the narrative prose that was so distinctive to Tolkien. While he was reading it, I suggested to him that we leave to go out to dinner and he said with great disdain, "Give me a few minutes. I want to see this character die. I've been anticipating it for so long." Definitely not a good sign. I gave it one star, just because he did manage to finish the book.


Confessions of a Teen Sleuth
Confessions of a Teen Sleuth
Author: Chelsea Cain
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 4/19/2008


This book certainly has its moments, but even taken as a parody I was disappointed with it. The premise: Carolyn Keene takes copious notes of her roommate Nancy Drew's stories and makes a fortune off the books she writes, and Nancy wants to set the record straight. The problem is that she didn't write summaries of the cases in the Nancy Drew books, it was a memoir of her later years. Some of the stories were hilarious, and also the fact that she always carries a magnifying glass, but the whole thing was Nancy Drew - Good girl gone "bad". It was worth a read, but I found it just a bit disappointing.


Cooking Healthy With the Kids in Mind: A Healthy Exchanges Cookbook
Review Date: 2/2/2009
Helpful Score: 3


This book uses low-fat substitutions to make fairly standard fare more healthy. So instead of using Jell-O, it would substitute the sugar-free version in the recipe. Other common substitutions are: applesauce instead of oil, adding milk powder for nutrition, and using Neufchatel cheese instead of cream cheese.

But many of these substitutions can be done on your own, without using this book. Plus, I found that some of the recipes were too work-intensive to fit my schedule with working full-time outside the home. Not a bad cookbook, but it just doesn't really fit my lifestyle.


Corpse Suzette (Savannah Reid, Bk 11)
Corpse Suzette (Savannah Reid, Bk 11)
Author: G. A. McKevett
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 22
Review Date: 10/20/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Another gem in the Savannah Reid series. Let's face it, if you've made it through 10 of the books in this series, you're likely to enjoy #11. Nice sideline story about the challenges that overweight people face in life. Surprise twist ending, and a bit of fun with Dirk and Savannah. Another fun romp with Savannah and the gang.


Crepes: Sweet  Savory Recipes for the Home Cook
Review Date: 1/14/2009
Helpful Score: 3


Amazing looking recipes, but be prepared to hunt down some fairly unusual ingredients. The recipes really look solid, but this book is definitely not for an everyday cook. It's far more geared to the home gourmet chef and foodie. If you don't have ready access to exotic ingredients, this cookbook is not for you. For my household with young children, it was definitely not for us.


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